Date: 01 February 2016
The complainant and his 18 month old daughter were involved in a Road Traffic Collision (RTC) when a 3.5 tonne van collided with their stationary vehicle -- the Police and the Ambulance Service were called to attend. The Police arrived but the Ambulance Service did not. The Police chased the Ambulance Service attendance and were told that it would be between 60 to 90 minutes before an Ambulance could attend. The complainant was asked to make his own way to Hospital; three other people had potential injuries and were also asked to attend hospital by themselves. The complainant argued that the dispatcher should be ashamed of themselves and wanted to know at what point the Dispatcher decided that the complainant and his daughter were not important enough to send an Ambulance to. The Police chased the ambulance response again, but still no Ambulance arrived.
An emergency call was received with the Bedford Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The call was coded as a Green 2, requiring an emergency response to arrive within 30 minutes. The call was audited and confirmed as correctly coded. Regrettably, there were no emergency vehicles available to assign as the demand placed on the 999 system at the time far outweighed the number of emergency vehicles available to respond to patients.
The Trust was experiencing issues with resources capable of conveying patients with multiple Ambulances being delayed at the local Hospital when attempting to handover conveyed patients -- on this occasion there were seven crews delayed in excess of 15 minutes between 12:00 hours and 14:00 hours and as such, there were no emergency vehicles available to assign to this call.
At 13:35 hours the Duty EOC Officer (DEO) advised the Police Control Room of the high call demand the Trust was experiencing and requested an update from Officers on scene with regards to casualties and injuries at the RTC. The DEO confirmed that it was unlikely that an Ambulance would be available in the next hour to dispatch and therefore, as long as it was safe to do so, alternative transport options should be considered. The Dispatcher was unable to dispatch an ambulance at that time due to other calls being prioritised as higher acuity calls following the 999 triage.
At 13:39 hours the Police contacted the Trust and advised that alternative transport was not available and that an Ambulance was still required to check for any injuries. At 13:46 hours the call was then cancelled by the Police.
- Lesson learnt / action taken:
The Trust apologised for the failings in service delivery that did not meet the high standards EEAST strive to provide. Assurances were provided that that the Trust is working closely with Commissioners, key stakeholders and other local partners in the healthcare system to manage system-wide resources effectively; the Trust recognises the need for more staff to be available to respond to patients in the face of ever increasing demand and is therefore continuing with an intensive recruitment programme to increase overall staffing capacity.
- Date:01 February 2016